Follow the Prophets

Pres. Oaks shares when he experienced the ‘greatest’ growth—and it might surprise you

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More than 20 years ago, President Dallin H. Oaks, who was serving as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at the time, was given an “unusual” assignment to move to the Philippines and supervise the work of the Church there.

When President Oaks and his wife Kristen arrived in the Philippines in 2002, there was one temple and more than 600,000 Church members—a surprising ratio, to be sure. President Oaks says that part of the reason the First Presidency sent them there was President Gordon B. Hinckley’s concern that the Church was “baptizing a large number of people but ... not seeing significant increases in the number of priesthood ordinations or first-time temple attendance.”

Today, there are more than 876,000 Church members and three dedicated temples in operation in the Philippines, with 10 more temples that have been announced or are currently under construction.

► You may also like: Which Latter-day Saint temples are under construction around the world?

You can learn more about the Oaks’ time in the Philippines and efforts to strengthen the Church in the player below.

Before his assignment in the Philippines, President Oaks had never served as a bishop, stake president, mission president, or full-time missionary.

But he says that while he was there, he had the opportunity to experience firsthand the challenges of different gospel cultures, the difficulties of language barriers, and the importance of encouraging Church members to serve missions and pay tithing. Today, he calls his time in the Philippines his “period of greatest learning.”

Watch the full video in the YouTube player below.

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